I was in my 6th grade, I was around 11 years old. We had to been to Himachal Pradesh for a trip. Himachal Pradesh is so lovely........one of the most beautiful places I have been to till now. I don't mind going there again. We were 4-5 families altogether for the trip to Himachal. Abhi....Himachal Bole toh, Kullu Manali nahi gaye toh Doob Maro! seriously!! :P Anyways.we were at Kullu. The first time I set foot at Kullu, I felt different. I mean the whole ambience of the place is so different than Mumbai (obviosuly it would be different but well as a kid it hit me right on my face) It was cold (I went to kullu on the month of November) But I liked it. Another thing which caught my attention was the large amount of "chinky eyed " people. now I know its a stupid way to address them, but well..I din't know any other way. (People please suggest, I would incorporate it :) ) I had never seen so many chinky eyed people at one place. I was very intrigued.
I have to mention the crazy things I did during this trip. I was fascianted by people, countries, different relegions, cultures etc. right from a very ypoung age. These trips provided me an opportunity to meet like so many different people. There were tons of tourists who had come from various countries. Well, I was very curious about all everything "NEW" I saw. Therefore I used to stop and talk to any random foreigner and ask them From where they came from, which country and How they liking India and all. It freaks me now as to how I could just go to any random strangeer and ask questions. Boy! I was totally uninhibited and bold! :D I met some really nice people likewise. They were only too interested in telling me what they liked, info about their country and all. It was very cute! So in kullu, when we went shopping, I witnessed like huge numners of Chinky- eyed people (I thought that they were from north-east)
There are loads of them In kullu, Manali, Dharamshala etc. Since we went to Kullu during the winters, the lanes and roads of Kullu were filled with people selling woollens. It wa sa ubiquitous scene. I went to this particular lady who was selling really lovely sweaters. She also had cute friendship bands (yea and this was way before Kuch Kuch hota hain released.) Every second person over there int he street was busy knitting sweaters and other stuff. I went to this particular stall which had an old lady knitting and her daughter selling the stuff. They were really very beautiful and pretty. They showed me several of their stuff sweaters, shawls, socks, gloaves etc. etc. Out of sheer curiosity I began talking to them. I asked them," Do u belong to Kullu only or do u come here during winters for business?" THey looked at me and said, " No, beta, we are tibetans But we have been staying here right from our childhood." Now I was stumped, where is Tibet???? I smiled and went back to Appa who was busy haggling something in anotjher shop. Appa is very good with geography and keenly takes interest in current affairs and stuff. I asked him, "Appa, Where is Tibet? Is it in India?" That was not a proper time to ask questions and dispell my doubts as he was busy making purchases and answering in a busy stret really didn't make sense. Amma was also shopping. So i kept quiet. We proceeded to another lane where again we encountered like several shops. I met another girl whow as busy knitting. She was knitting a friendship band. I was quite curious coz at that time I hardly knew wht these bands meant. I asked her,"yeh kya hain? (what is this?) She replied," Isko friendhsip band bolte hain. Isko aap apne friend ke haath mein baand sakte ho." (This is called a friendship band and you can tie this on ur friend's wrist.) They were indeed very pretty. I keenly began to watch the way she knitted so fast and came out with such pretty stuff. After a point of time I began talking to her too. She was very sweet. I asked her u r also a tibetan? She looked at me surprised," Yea, even I am from Tibet. Where are u from?" I replied that I am from Mumbai. I didn't have any clue about Tibet or anything. I asked her what relegion do u follow? Christianity? She repleid with biiiiiiiiiig NOOOOOO! "We practise Buddhism.", she said. I aske dher whom do you regard as your god. She said Dalai Lama! Now I was totally confused. She said she pratrcised Buddhism and god is Dalai Lama. I bid her good bye and again joined our group........(To be continued)